No matter your age, you’ve probably thought about how it affects your job search. Experienced job seekers worry about age discrimination because they believe hiring managers think they are too old. Younger job seekers complain that their accomplishments don’t get the attention and respect they deserve and that people don’t value their skills due to their relatively few years of experience.
Can we learn anything from members of different generations when it comes to job search? Consider the following things Millenials (born between the late 1970s and early 2000’s) do that all job seekers should do:
Use social networking to connect and extend your network. While some criticize Gen Y for sacrificing in-person conversations and preferring to communicate via text messages and Facebook, everyone could learn something from this generation’s ability to extend their networks via online tools. Don’t underestimate the importance of your digital footprint – what people can find out about you online.
Collaborate. Gen Y is known for their interest in interaction, collaboration, and connectivity. Other generations can gain a lot if they embrace the interconnectedness that extends networking beyond lip service to actual engagement.
Demonstrate flexibility and multitask effectively. Most people would agree that gen Y-ers are some of the most agile and lithe workers.
Be creative and innovative. In Forbes, Jenna Goudreau quoted Amy Lynch, co-author of The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace, as saying, “Millennials are not locked into limited, linear patterns of thinking about industry issues or challenges.”
Seek more than just a paycheck. Goudreau’s Forbes post also quotes Paul Alofs, author of Passion Capital. He said, “An employee’s passion is the company’s best resource. When people’s jobs are aligned with what they care about, they put in the extra effort, and it flows straight to the bottom line.”
Get experience where you can. Gen Y-ers actively participate in internships, volunteer work, online learning, and embrace leadership opportunities large and small. If you’re having a hard time landing a job, think about what you might be able to do to
Move on. Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, notes that his company’s studies show that Millennials leave their corporations at the two-year mark. While pundits pin this tendency to a lack of loyalty on the part of Gen Y workers, there’s another angle to this often-cited statistic. How many experienced workers stay in their jobs beyond the time when they are learning, growing, and enjoying the jobs?
Consider owning a business. Millennial Branding found th number of 18 to 29-year-olds in the process of setting up their own companies increased by 50% in the last year alone. In the future, more and more professionals will need to be able to market themselves as independent contractors or business owners. Gen X and Baby Boomers should begin to think about how they can succeed as entrepreneurs.
Read the rest on my column at U.S. News & World Reports.